In an age where women are just as likely to be training in the gym as a male, here are my 5 things that any woman should know before stepping into the gym for the first time.
Don’t be intimidated
The reason why many women have forgone going to the gym in the past is that they are intimidated about the prospect of going into a relatively male dominated environment. Most Males are now realising that females are using the gym now more than ever so are not worried when they see females in the gym. To help with feeling more comfortable in the gym, try going at a time when it is not going to be too busy (if you can and your schedule allows it) and have a program ready to go so that when you walk in you know exactly what workout you are going to do that day.
Learn how to train effectively and safely
Getting some advice on how to train effectively and more importantly safely is paramount when starting out training. This is where a professional comes in - and no this does not mean advice from your boyfriend or husband no matter how much he tries to convince you that he is professional. Unless of course he is a Personal Trainer or Exercise physiologist - he may not be doing the exercises completely correctly himself so you don’t want to pick up his bad habits. Having a few sessions with a Personal Trainer is going to be very beneficial so that they can make sure that you are training all the right muscle groups and are performing all the exercises correctly to help avoid any serious injuries.
Don’t be afraid to use the weights area
For women, doing resistance training is crucial to maintaining bone density and muscle mass – especially as it starts to decline after the age of 30. Many women think that they are going to come out looking like the hulk if they start lifting weights but this is not the case as we do not have the amount of testosterone as males to be able to build that type of muscle mass. Not only will doing resistance training 2-3 times per week help you to maintain your muscle mass and bone density but it will help create a toned, lean physique.
Fuel up after your session
So you’ve just gone to the gym and are feeling great and full of energy after it. Now it’s time to properly eat and fuel your body so that you get the most out of your session. Clinical trials have shown that eating within 30 min to 1 hour after going to the gym will help to aid recovery and prevent DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) - what you feel the day after a leg session and can barely sit down. A post workout meal of Complex carbohydrates such as a banana, wholemeal bread or some sweet potato, paired with protein such as a protein shake, eggs, yoghurt or lean meat, along with some good fats such as avocado or chia seeds will be the perfect combination to help refuel your body and ensure that you get the most out of your workout.
Consistency is key. Just like missing one workout won't make you put on weight or derail all of your progress, you can't expect to see massive results after only 1 or 2 workouts, or 1 or 2 weeks for that matter. Good results take time and consistency to achieve so keep at it!!